The confidence boosting performance set the right tone for a season in which Thomas Tuchel hopes to build a serious challenge to Manchester City’s crown come May. Along with the Blues, it is widely believed the most realistic challengers to Pep Guardiola’s side are Liverpool and Manchester United – who also began their title hunt over the weekend.
Let’s take a closer look at how Chelsea’s closest Premier League rivals fared on the opening day.
Manchester United 5-1 Leeds
There was a sense of inevitably to the rout we saw at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime. Despite Luke Ayling’s screamer to level the game after the interval, Leeds United were simply torn apart by the speed and quality of Manchester United’s ferocious attack.
Paul Pogba provided a performance which reminds you of his superb talent, creating four of Manchester United’s five goals on the afternoon. The midfielder was simply dazzling, along with the clinical finishing of Bruno Fernandes.
There has been a lot of social media nonsense (when isn’t there?) about whether his talent has been overhyped – well it hasn’t. Fernandes is a game changer, he has been continually exceptional in the red, which is hard to admit. The Portuguese playmaker changes games with such frequency the fee they paid for him looks like a bargain.
It is worth noting United smashed Leeds in the same fixture last year 6-2. For all of Marcelo Bielsa’s brilliance, his teams provide a generous amount of room to United’s attackers. Time will tell whether this result massively alters the destiny for Ole Gunnar Solskjær in the weeks to come.
Norwich 0-3 Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds clinically dispatched the Canaries on Saturday evening at Carrow Road.
It was the sort of controlled performance which went awry last season for Liverpool and this very much felt back to their ominous 2019 form. Mohamed Salah remains one of the league’s most ferocious attackers and even if the likes of Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane dip, the Egyptian will likely be close to the Golden Boot once more.
From a Chelsea perspective, it was a difficult evening for loanee Billy Gilmour who will have to adapt to playing for a club likely ensconced in a relegation battle for most of the season.
Norwich did not offer much to trouble the returning Virgil van Dijk. But his presence will allow Klopp’s team to press higher up the pitch and suffocate opposition which they struggled to maintain following his injury last season.
Chelsea travel to Anfield on the final weekend of August for a mouth-watering clash
Tottenham 1-0 Manchester City
You will never hear me say a Spurs victory is a good thing, but in this circumstance – it benefited Chelsea.
All the pre-match conversation was engulfed by talk over Harry Kane’s future before Transfer Deadline Day. But the hosts did not miss Kane’s presence in what was a very impressive tactical performance from Nuno Espírito Santo, piercing through City’s midfield with the speed of Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn.
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Manchester City started the game in dominant fashion but quickly tailed off with gaps widening in their defence for Spurs to exploit.
Even with the £100m addition of Jack Grealish, the champions looked pretty toothless in attack. The fast movement of Ferran Torres, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling looked like it could overrun Spurs in the opening 15 minutes, but soon faded.
The defeat in itself is a continuation of City’s poor form at Tottenham’s new stadium, but also highlighted why they are pursuing Kane for a mind-bending fee. The game also showcased similar flaws that Chelsea exposed in the FA Cup Semi-Final and Champions League final last season.
Losing on the opening day will give encouragement to their title rivals, but with Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden still to return fully, I expect the Champions to quickly rediscover their winning touch.
What do you think about the opening weekend ? Follow our new Chelsea Fan Brands Writer Daniel Childs on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.